Insights

Intelligence Analysis, Chimps & Hammers

There’s an old adage that states that “To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. It’s sometimes known as ‘Maslow’s Hammer’ or ‘the Law of the Instrument’, but perhaps the most entertaining variant is the use of the term “Birmingham Screwdriver” to describe a sledge-hammer. Sure enough, if you’ve just spent the…

Big Data Approaches

There’s an interesting article in the Harvard Business Review Blog about wrapping your arms around big data.  In particular it addresses  the issue of planning to exploit big data in terms of the tricky question of how you calculate the potential RoI for your efforts.  I share the view that if you have petabytes of data,…

Quote Jonathan Swift Unquote

Falsehood flies and truth comes limping after it, so that when men come to be undeceived, it is too late; the jest is over, and the tale hath had its effect.

Personality Conditions That Optimise Intelligence Analysis

There’s an interesting article here describing, allegedly, how an Israeli military IMINT organisation uses soldiers with autistic traits for imagery analysis, because their condition supposedly helps them conduct the task of spotting visual anomalies.   It makes me wonder what other traits, disorders or conditions in humans could have extra applicability to other intelligence disciplines.…

Quote Churchill Unquote

There are a terrible lot of lies going around the world, and the worst of it is half of them are true.

Demeter’s Debrief: This Week’s 5 Must-read #bigdata Stories

“Data is the new soil” – David McCandless Demeter: Greek goddess beloved for her gifting of the harvest, the reward for cultivation of the soil 5. How Big Data Will Transform Coaching In The NBA (Bleacher Report). “…(a coach) glances down at his wrist to consult an electronic device. The tablet is running an app…

Hier Spricht Der Chef

Prompted by a colleague in the US I’ve been researching about the concept of “Black propaganda” in terms of both defences and offences.  I’ve turned up some interesting stuff.  In particular I’ve been trying to do a side by side comparison with modern rumour media as exemplified by various blogs and tweets and the more…

When the Intelligence Cycle Lacked Direction

Recently I stumbled upon an academic article about the Tet Offensive, written in 1991. The Int Cycle at the time was given as: Collection of information; Analysis of the information; Response to the analysis; Dissemination of warning. This got me thinking about a few things: Direction came later! It was perhaps a more rigid routine of…

Sharks and Rumours of Sharks.

I’ve written here before, briefly about sharks, and written a bit recently about rumours, which has sparked dialogue across the Atlantic with US military colleagues, who I’m grateful to for their thoughts Here’s where sharks and rumours collide. One of the challenges of modern irregular warfare is that rumours can be so distracting of intelligence resources.…

The German Tank Problem and Intelligence, Part 2

I’ve been scratching away at issues surrounding the interface between “intelligence analysis” and “statistical analysis” since my first post on the German Tank problem here.   To be clear, I’m approaching this from an intelligence analysis perspective not as a statistician. So I have about 5 or 6 posts to make on this, which I’ll…